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Green Turtle, Abaco Update Sept 3, 2011

C Skip RC Skip R Posts: 129 Deckhand
Updated for: Saturday, September 03, 2011 11:23 AM

Those independent-minded Abaconians
Published On: Wednesday, August 31, 2011
REPORTS reaching The Tribune shortly after the passage of Hurricane Irene claimed that at least two of our settlements had been washed out to sea -- Lovely Bay, Acklins, and Green Turtle Cay, Abaco. While both these settlements suffered damage, happily they are still with us and, unlike Humpty-Dumpty, they can be put together again.
As government officials toured the islands, they found serious damage in many areas, but little in others. Cat Island, for example, which took the brunt of the storm, was the worst hit. Repairs, which will be major, have already started at that island. However, other areas in the island chain seemed almost untouched by the savage storm.
First reports out of Abaco -- when it was eventually confirmed that Green Turtle Cay had not disappeared into the ocean -- had boats being torn from their moorings, roofs being ripped off homes, trees uprooted and about three feet of flooding in such areas as Murphy Town. However, in Marsh Harbour residents were thankful that they were spared - only one electric pole was down. The north of the island had taken the brunt of the storm.
Up until Monday there were still fears for little Green Turtle Cay, which got the worst of the blow. It had still not been heard from.
With the Meteorological office warning serious thunder and lighting storms for later Monday and advising boaters not to venture out, Prime Minister Ingraham took off by helicopter to visit his home island -- Abaco.
Among the settlements called on were Sandy Point, Moores Island, Coopers Town, Blackwood, Treasure Cay, Green Turtle, and Marsh Harbour. There was minimal damage in Sandy Point, slight damage to a wooden dock in Moores Island, minimal damage in Coopers Town and no damage in Treasure Cay.
While others had been worried for their welfare, the Prime Minister's party found the hardy, independent people of Green Turtle Cay busy cleaning and repairing their island. Although pleased to see their prime minister, they seemed to wonder what all the fuss was about.
Of course, no one could get in touch with them. They had no electricity, no cable, no cell phones --so what! They were too busy putting their island back together again to concern themselves with the worries of the outside world.
When a Bahamas Information Services reporter asked Chief Councillor Greg Curry how much his settlement would expect government to provide in hurricane aid, Mr Curry seemed taken aback by the question.
"We don't need government's money," he retorted. "We don't need money to clean up -- this is our island. This ain't the government's island and we can clean it up.
"In fact," he said, "if you look, we started on Saturday at 10am with four trucks and finished at 3pm -- as you can see it's all done."
Photographs show clean streets, neat homes, a quiet, peaceful, tranquilly colourful island -- everything back to normal. Nature only has to do its part by returning the foliage to the trees. However, Sundowners Bar to the southwest of the island, was badly damaged. It had suffered severe beach erosion. The government dock also lost its seawall, which affected the wooden dock behind it. However, the ferry dock was still intact.
Asked what made Abaco so special, the Prime Minister listening to the Chief Councillor with obvious pride, said that other than being home to him, these were deeply endearing, accepting people; independently-minded, self-starters "and as you can see quite boastful!"
The Tribune's Robert Carron, who was among reporters who flew to the various islands after the storm and was also on the Abaco trip, was impressed by the spirit and attitude of the people of Green Turtle Cay.
"The interesting thing is that not once on our tour of the other islands did we find such an independent, determined attitude," Robert told us. "In every settlement we heard complaints. We heard no complaints in Abaco, although they had been without electricity since Wednesday -- no telephones, no cable, no cell phones -- they were just busy getting on with the job. They told the Prime Minister that if BEC did not come to put up their electrical poles, they would do it themselves and charge BEC!"
The stubborn Loyalist blood still runs strong in the blood of those people.
"The way Abaconians come together in times of crisis is an example of what people can do when they do not depend on government's social services to do it all.
"The impression I got was that they will ask for help if they need it. But it seems they consider the offer of help an insult to their ability to take care of themselves. If the rest of the Bahamas was like this, this country would truly be a Garden of Eden."
Now we can better understand our Prime Minister, who brings this same determined, let's-get-it-done attitude to his administration.


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